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Today’s Truth

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I thought I was so Godly, so courageous and strong … until we decided to move. If you want to measure your faith, just decide to pack up everything you own … and move.

And if you really want to test the strength of your faith, decide to basically gut the house into which you are moving. Yep! That ought to do it!

Paint. I know a fresh coat of paint can make old walls dance with new life, but painting is also messy, time-consuming, and the source of total chaos. Icky drop cloths are sprawled everywhere, paint trays that are guaranteed not to spill … until they do … must be lugged from room to room. And don’t get me started on the whole taping thing.

New carpet. New carpet is a beautiful thing … unless the carpet installers somehow got the impression we didn’t want said carpet in the hallway. Really? And of course, they had to order more carpet.

The 20-year-old appliances had to be replaced, but we found a sweet deal on an appliance bundle. However, when all of the appliances came, there was no refrigerator. When the refrigerator finally came three weeks later, it was an inch too tall for the space my husband had carefully measured. Dan and a friend took down and trimmed the cabinet above the refrigerator … and the refrigerator finally fit.

We needed a new kitchen sink. The first one delivered was the wrong color. The second one had a crack in it. The third one had a side that was in pieces. When the fourth one came, I hid in my study until the plumbers installed it and assured me all was well.

I wish I could tell you that I handled every glitch, mistake, and hiccup in this move with a sense of humor and a good attitude, but I didn’t. I could blame it on the fact that I was tired and in pain because I was.

I have Scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis in my spine, which accounts for the severe back pain. I was also exhausted from ministry.

I could justify my negative attitude toward people who did not do what they said they would do. But God doesn’t.

I moaned and complained at times like I was being persecuted in some way. How absurd! I was inconvenienced … and that is a far cry from being persecuted. And the Holy Spirit will not let me off the hook at all on this one.

The bottom line is this: I need to refocus and adjust my perspective. I need to be alert so I can stand firm – so I can be courageous and strong. Do you?

The Bible says, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong,” (1 Corinthians 16:13, NIV).

“Alert” literally means “to stay on guard” or “to keep watch.” Our Father wants us to stay alert and always be on guard! It doesn’t matter how long we have known Him; we must always be prepared to guard against sin, knowing we will face temptation. The best way to stay alert and the greatest deterrent to sin is the Word of God!

David wrote, “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You,” (Psalm 119:11, NIV).

When Jesus went into the wilderness and was tempted, He won the battle of temptation using the Word of God. Every time Satan tempted Him, Jesus responded with scripture. We need to do the same. The best way to prepare for temptation and stay alert is by knowing the Word of God.

Join me in a new commitment to be alert – to stand firm in our faith with a chosen courage and God’s strength at work in our lives.

Let’s Pray

Father, please forgive me for my complaining spirit about things that simply do not matter. Give me an eternal perspective. Help me focus on what really does matter. I want to be alert and stand firm in my faith so that when the enemy attacks, I am ready.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn 

What is your attitude about the difficult situations in your life?

Are you standing firm when the tough times come? Why or why not?

More from the Girlfriends

To live a successful life requires an unshakable faith. In Mary’s MP3 download,

4 Steps to an Unshakable Faith, she shares four steps we can take to experience the kind of faith that will see us through every storm. Don’t miss this powerful message!

Check out Mary’s blog! Sign up today and receive a FREE MP3 download of “Strength For The Storm.” Just click here.

© 2021 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.

12 Responses to “Just How Strong is Your Faith?”

  1. Faye says:

    Wow! When I read the devotion this morning and got to the part where you stated you had scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis in your spine…I cried. I have the same thing. I just had an MRI and I was just diagnosed because of the numbness at night in my legs. My attitude lately has not been one that I’m proud of. It was like it was sent specifically for me. Thank you! I really needed this today.

  2. Pamela says:

    I have to laugh. My husband and I are thinking about moving to “scale down.” This devotional is no coincidence, God wanted me to read this. A realtor (that I haven’t seen yet) is coming to my house next week to discuss loans, contractors, interest rates, etc. The “gutting” (like in the devotional) of the house in question is the house we live in now and would be selling. I’ve never in my life sold AND bought a home. I’ve only bought.
    My heart is heavy with worry that we won’t qualify for the loan. My house needs many, many repairs from years of neglect and I won’t go into the reason why.
    What I need to do is give it all to God and not be so negative. I’ll admit I have a hard time doing that. Maybe it’s meant to be and maybe it’s not. I will pray for guidance. I love your devotionals Mrs. Mary Southerland.

  3. McCoy says:

    Oh boy, I think we have lived parallel lives 😝
    2 years ago we decided to downsize but fell hard for a larger, older home. We moved from the home we had totally renovated to one that needs everything! On moving day, the a/c quit. The temps that week were in the 90’s🥵 It took 10 days to get fixed. In July. In North Carolina.
    But I never missed a morning devo and my Girlfriends and it seemed to really go along smoothly. Very warm, but smooth. We rejoiced in being in this wonderful, crazy space, and God has continued to bless us with each step forward. Much love and thanks to you all at GiG!

  4. Penney says:

    Wow!!!!! I am in the midst of packing to move and I am doing it alone. I am exhausted. I have the same health issues that you have. It took me 3 and a half days to clean out a closet. I have only been in my condo for 7 years and you would think it was a lifetime. The realtor had the nerve to tell me that she needs the place empty in order to show it. Did I mention I am looking for a home to purchase after having redone this one when I bought it. The things that I wanted to say to her! Thank God for God because between the crying and complaining, I am a mess. I will have to ask the Holy Spirit for the right words to say before I tell her that I won’t be using her and why. I am and am not looking forward to the new home. It will only be God and the Holy Spirit that will get me through this after I get out of the way. God already has my new home picked out along with the buyer for my place. It is up to me to stand firm and KNOW Who He is. Thank you Mary, this message was timely.

  5. Abby says:

    To give up..nope bc it’s like why? God doesn’t care about me anymore. Have health issurs no ckue what is going on.He made a fat, ugly ,loser, failure, disabled lady like me.He made a mistake with me so why bother,caring anymore God don’t hear my prayers or anything

  6. Linda L Harrington says:

    OMW, how this story brought back memories. Less than a year after my husband and I were married, second marriage so we had 4 children we were trying to blend, we started building a house. In the process, I had a breakdown, (past abuse memories), and was put on Lithium. It was later determined that I didn’t need to be on it, PTL, however, while on it I had highs and lows.
    We had a friend, who was a builder, build our new home. Needless to say, we lost that friendship because of some questionable practices he did in his business.
    We moved into our home in December, we lived in Michigan so there was lots of snow. One night I went into our closet and a little creature was sitting on the shelf just looking at me. Thanks to our cocker spaniel, she chased it out of the house.
    In the summer, we had a flood in our walkout basement, from the furnace/air conditioner. When they opened it up, they found a mamma and babies squirrel dead. That caused the air condition to backup somehow. It was also the source of a very terrible smell for a while that no one could figure out what it was. YUK!
    But, after everything, I look back and I bless and praise GOD for that home. It served us well for 20 years. I had never, in my growing up, had a home so beautiful, in a lovely wooded area. We saw dear, fox, owls, and turkeys. We have so many memories with our children and grandchildren.
    Yes, when we were going through it, there were tears and frustration. But we always reminded ourselves, “this was a gift from GOD.”

  7. Debbie says:

    The story rings true for anyone who has moved or decided to refresh and restore our physical home where we live. In taking a deeper dive in this message I am focusing on clearing out my spiritual home…my body,mind,thoughts and actions. I believe the dwelling where we physically live is temporary…therefore since our body is
    Gods temple I ask myself is it fit for a King. My answer is NO! My goal is to clear the clutter that dwells within me…refresh my heart and create a temple that is fit for my Father God…my King. My home is temporary…but I seek the comfort of an eternal life in the Kingdom of God!

    I appreciate the message today…timely and fitting for living in this world. I choose to embrace my future in the Kingdom of God. Everything else is meaningless and secondary. This message brings forth a great opportunity/reminder to refocus my goals. Thank you…in his precious love and a grateful heart.

  8. Dawn says:

    Beautiful devotional today, I am in awe at how the precious Holy Spirit can take our attitude towards circumstances and do a complete 180 when we give ourselves over completely. I was bitter, lonely and very miserable and very sure no one wanted to be near me because of it. The changes in my life have been remarkable, do I fail daily yes…but it is the strength of the Holy Spirit that keeps me getting back up and going. Back issues, depression, weight makes daily chores very hard every day, but the attitude towards my circumstances makes each day that more bearable. Yes, I too have been through much abuse both physically and mentally as well, but the precious blood of Jesus cleansed that pain, shame and guilt away.
    Abby, I am praying that God will use the Holy Spirit to re-program your heart and mind. There is beauty in those ashes…..ask God to reveal them to you. Please don’t close off your heart and mind to the beauty within Gods masterful creation as yourself. I have read many of your replies and can relate to many of them….God won’t allow me to just pray for you this time…I had to reply…..that alone is a huge step for me as well….let’s do this together, along with the prayers of all the readers of these daily devotionals….what we see as dysfunctional and less than desirable God sees us as beautiful one of a kind masterpieces! Once I accepted that and quit dwelling on what I wasn’t able to do….I found out I was able to do more than I thought I could…sometimes just differently than others at times…you know the old saying..one day at a time. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! When I am struggling that’s my go to verse! Blessings upon you Abby and all the ladies and gentlemen ( pretty sure I have seen comments from men) that comprise the GIG circle.

  9. I just love how God is always on time! Just when we need Him most, He shows up in a phone call, a text, a call, or an email. God bless you, friend. Hang in there. He is with you!

  10. Caroline says:

    I’m also about to move for the 3rd time in 8 months because the first time it was to move to a different state for a job, 2nd time was 6 months later when our house flooded, then 3rd time is moving back after our renovations are complete! The first time I had covid, and this time we all have a stomach bug. It feels like our moving is cursed!
    But I know this message is from God because I just so happen, On top of all the other things, to have psalm 119:11 as the background on my phone. I hear you God! Lol

  11. Dear friends, thank you for your comments!

    This is what we are all about – connecting when we think we are alone and no one understands.

    We do.

    God does.

    And He us with us! Do not believe the lies that the enemy whispers in your heart. Drown them out with God’s truth!

    You may not like or understand what is happening in your life right now. Summon up that tiny seed of faith and lay it at His feet! And then watch what your God can do in your life!

    Mary

  12. Judi says:

    Abby, Lifting you up in prayer. May you know how much God loves you and SEES you.
    In this life we will have troubles but God never leaves us or forsakes us. NEVER. Look to Him. I will continue to pray for you.

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